July 22, 2014

Night lights fight

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DRB upholds 

CVS lighting violation

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

September 26th, 2013

At Tuesday’s lengthy and at times contentious Development Review Board meeting, the board voted unanimously to uphold a zoning violation filed against CVS Pharmacy regarding its outdoor lighting.

“At this point, the ball is in the court of CVS,” said Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau on Wednesday morning.

Once the DRB approves its minutes—which will most likely occur at its Oct. 8 meeting—the decision will become final. CVS will have 30 days to decide whether it will appeal to the Vermont Superior Court.

Belliveau issued a notice of violation to CVS on July 31. The notice centered on two requirements in Chapter 24 of the town’s bylaws—that outdoor lights be fully shielded and that the light is contained to the building’s property.

In a statement submitted to the DRB, CVS contended that it was issued a certificate of zoning compliance and met all the criteria in the town’s bylaws.

However, Belliveau told the Observer that he typically makes zoning inspections during the day, and that a certificate of zoning compliance does not absolve CVS from meeting the town’s requirements on an ongoing basis.

While CVS did submit a lighting plan and met the town’s requirements for the brightness of the lights, the plan indicated that there would not be any light trespass past CVS’s property, which Belliveau said has not proven to be the case.

A handful of Williston residents attended the meeting and urged CVS to make changes to the lighting.

Kevin Batson submitted a memo to the board on behalf of the Williston Green Initiatives environmental group.

“Allowing such bright, unshielded lighting mounted so high on the building will set a bad precedent that may be copied to other buildings amplifying the offensive and distracting brightness,” the memo states. “We also want to inform CVS that in our opinion, most town residents work hard to conserve energy and do not like such wasteful and unattractive displays. It detracts from an otherwise architecturally well detailed building.”

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